Eye on polls, Cong woos Muslims, Dalits | india | Hindustan Times
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Eye on polls, Cong woos Muslims, Dalits

THE UTTAR Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) appears to have stepped up efforts to woo minorities and Dalits before Vidhan Sabha elections. If Muslims and Dalits go back to the Congress, the party will regain its lost glory in Uttar Pradesh, say senior leaders.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2006 01:10 IST

THE UTTAR Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) appears to have stepped up efforts to woo minorities and Dalits before Vidhan Sabha elections.

If Muslims and Dalits go back to the Congress, the party will regain its lost glory in Uttar Pradesh, say senior leaders.

In this connection, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary (UP incharge) Ashok Gehlot, UPCC president Salman Khurshid and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Pramod Tiwari attended two programmes.

These were: a meeting with representatives of madarsas and the Dalit Shoshit convention of the UPCC’s Dalit Task Force held to woo Muslims and the Dalits, respectively. Gehlot said Uttar Pradesh continued to throw down a big challenge to the Congress.

The Congress would not be able to form a stable government on its own at the Centre, till the party was able to form a government in Uttar Pradesh, he said.

“How to form government in UP is a major challenge,” he said, adding partymen should sink their differences.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi was ready to devote time to the party in UP, he said, adding partymen would have to work hard to strengthen the organisation in the State. Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Salman Khurshid said he could see that the Muslims were tilting towards the partymen.

“We will have to take this to conclusive end,” said Khurshid, adding there was no alternative to Congress in Uttar Pradesh.

Urging Muslims to come back to the Congress fold, Khurshid said only his party could take care of their interests. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav would not be able to mislead Muslims anymore, he said, adding the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were following the same agenda.

At the Dalit-Shoshit convention, Khurshid said the Congress was the only party that had raised issues concerning the downtrodden.

“They have looted our home. We have to take back our belongings,” he said, in an obvious reference to the party’s vote bank. Though senior Congress leaders expressed their concern for Dalits, the others who spoke on the occasion said the party was neglecting the downtrodden. Even ministers of the UPA Government were not concerned about problems of the Dalits, they said.

Questions were also raised about the absence of Union Minister for Small Scale and Cottage Industry and the party’s Dalit MLAs. AICC secretary Praveen Rashtrapal was among those who spoke about the benefits of reservations for Dalits.

A 28-point resolution, passed at a convention, demanded that no other caste should be given reservation in the SC and the ST category.

Earlier, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Pramod Tiwari said the Samajwadi Party-led Government had betrayed the Congress. While the Congress supported the SP-led Government thrice in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had failed to prove his secular credentials, he said. Yadav was now talking of a formation of the Third Front, he said, adding no such front could be formed without the support of the BJP. Tiwari also urged Dalits to come back to the Congress fold.

First Published: Jun 13, 2006 01:10 IST